Ok, everyone is familiar with the saying that the only constant in education is change. I would like to extend the same saying to technology. The only constant in technology is change. Let’s face it, people find ways of doing or making things better, faster, cheaper, etc. Just take a moment and think back to 1996. Do you remember the sound your modem made when you were dialing into your ISP? When you finally connected, pages with pictures took forever to load and web pages were static. Now look at the page you are reading right now. The page and picture loaded almost instantly. There are hyperlinks you know that if you click on them they will open in seconds. Google even returns thousands of hits in milliseconds! Change is good.
It is unfortunate in education that we are limited by money. This is why teachers and educators are always looking for a “free” way to do something. I was extremely excited to find Webspiration, an online concept mapping tool. It is fantastic! I got my students to use it and they were completing concept maps and sharing them with the world. All for free.
But then the constant of change reared its head. Starting in April of this year, Webspiration will no longer be free (See this page to learn more: No longer free). Although the subscription price is extremely reasonable, I cannot bring myself to pay it.
But just as quickly that Webspiration is no longer free, Google docs adds “smart connectors”!! This allows you to add arrows between shapes and if you move a shape the arrow stays connected! Oh, and Google docs is still free!
You can find the info about using the new connectors for Google docs at this link: Google Docs Drawing Connectors. And if you don’t have a Google account yet (and why not?), you can get one here: Google Accounts (Note: if you already have a Gmail address then you have a Google account. If you need a Gmail address go to www.gmail.com and get one.)
So, thanks to change I will still be able to have my students make concept maps and share them with the world!!